Years ago, a lot of the things that were happening in my life that I cared about happened at night. Partying, going out, sneaking around, late night conversations. All of my desires were based on whatever I thought was fun and that became the center of my lifestyle. But those same things also brought me the most anxiety. I was living significant parts of my life literally in the darkness and my soul was in the dark as a result. Every other area of my life felt it too, whether I admitted it or not. I genuinely was sold on everything that culture and media told me – what I should do with my time, what I should look like, what it meant to be successful based on what others thought about me. I saw anything that went against that as boring and lame. I was willing to give up anything having to do with my faith to experience this way of life that I was convinced was better.
“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8)
The freedom, joy, and lightness that I feel now, even when I’m walking through harder seasons, can only be explained by the Holy Spirit in me. The only way to describe my life is that it has been completely transformed by Jesus and it will forever be my greatest joy to talk about who He is.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
You may love God or you may not really know who God is. If that’s you, just know that He loves you and He’s pursuing you, you can know that just by the fact that you’re reading this article. Years ago, He sent His son to die in our place as the ultimate sacrifice for the brokenness that’s so present in our world and so opposite of how He intended it to be when he created it. He lived radically and counter-culturally, not by saying all of the right things and being church-y. But by being bold, listening well, loving the very least of these on earth, not choosing to be around the most put together. And most importantly, when he left his time here on earth, He was raised from the dead and promised that one day we’ll get to live with Him and there will be a whole new earth that is absolutely perfect just as he originally designed it to be. (Romans 5:8)
So this life isn’t it. There is so much more purpose than just our 24 hour routines and habits that make up our lives. Actually letting that sink in is like letting light flood in.
CS Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
If you feel stuck between knowing there has to be more, yet constantly wanting to give into your desires, and not knowing which is the way to actual full, abundant life, this is for you. Here are some things that I’ve learned:
1. Pray for changed desires.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
In college, I prayed consistently and specifically for changed desires, that I would actually desire whatever was true and good. He changed my desires and I watched my relationships deepen and change with them. The peace I felt translated to all of the other areas of my life. My definition of fun changed. Experiencing an unwavering security and having deep relationships was fun. Having a purpose that was so much bigger than myself was fun. I think it’s funny that now the most significant and meaningful parts of my life happen literally in the light— yes I still love doing fun things at night obviously—but the parts that I care most about happen in the daylight. Mountain weekends, long walks with my husband AJ, dinners with my best friends, leading high school ministry on Mondays after work, painting in my art studio down the street, helping my friend with her nonprofit that fulfills the dreams of youth who have aged out of the foster care system. The life I’m living on mission is just better in every way.
“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. … Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
2. Become friends with people who life you up and challenge you and your faith.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
These friendships changed my life. One of my best friends Sellers was the one who first told me that she had prayed for changed desires and saw that transform her life. I never would have prayed that if I hadn’t have heard her talk about it. We are not meant to do life alone. When I was in high school I thought being a Christian meant sitting at home alone reading your bible while everyone else was out together having fun. But Jesus had 12 trusted friends he pretty much did everything with. Our friends are meant to grow with us, be honest with us, carry us through hard times, and in the same way we’re there for them. Making new friends can be uncomfortable, but keep showing up, keep initiating, keep going places where you know people who love Jesus will be. Life is not easy and we need each other.
3. Realizing our lives are not about ourselves.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
I don’t want you to read this and hear me say, “this is what worked for me, this can work for you. Follow what I did” Because it is not about me. Hear me say that I am broken and impatient and an overcommitter and really need a savior because I fall short everyday of who I want to be. I’m not worth following but the God I follow IS worth it. He knows I mess up all the time and He’s not mad. He is perfect and forgiving and loving and powerful. The Bible is made up of His own words and it is full of stories about Him taking care of His people in crazy ways. We never have to feel alone or out of control. He is not distant. In college one time in a harder season I prayed out loud in my car with worship music playing, and I can’t describe it but I truly felt his presence with me. Even though life looked nothing the way I wanted it to at the time, I felt like I had this loving creator who made me and had a purpose for me and was closer than He ever had been before. And I knew I was going to be okay.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
There is a lot of darkness in the world. But if Christ is in us we can have confidence that we’ve read the end of the book and the darkness does not overcome the light. Jesus says in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Lauren Ruark is the artist and designer behind Lauren Fuhr Design Co. She loves high school ministry and any creative projects she can get her hands on. She shares her art with the hope of making others’ lives and homes more beautiful, but ultimately pointing them to the true source of beautiful, full life that is in Jesus. She loves being outside and lives live to the full with her husband, AJ, and their dog, Wilson.